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No laughing matter

Flatulence is actually quite a normal process. A normal, healthy person passes gas an average of 14 times every day.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 05, 2010 02:11 IST
Anjali Mukerjee

It can be very embarrassing in social situations and yet, it is a very common problem. For those who suffer from it, flatulence is far from a laughing matter.

Flatulence is actually quite a normal process. A normal, healthy person passes gas an average of 14 times every day. About half of this gas is swallowed air. The rest is produced by the fermentation of the contents of your stomach by intestinal microbes. The best way to control flatulence is to watch what you eat.

Causes of flatulence
Lack of good bacteria: Digestive problems result from the lack of good bacteria in your stomach. Eating excessive amounts of sugar, non-vegetarian food and refined flour can wipe out the bacteria in the colon.

Allergy and intolerance: Lactose intolerance and allergic reactions to milk also increase flatulence. Beans: A complex carbohydrate called oligosaccharide present in beans is hard to digest. Generally, smaller beans like moong are easier to digest than large ones like rajma. Soak the beans overnight, discard the water and cook beans well to reduce flatulence.

Vegetables: Onions, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli can cause flatulence.
Cardamom: It helps reduce flatulence and strengthen digestion.
Ginger: It has an anti-inflammatory compound called oleoresin which relaxes muscles in the digestive tract.
Fennel seeds: Fennel has volatile oils and compounds like terpenoids which prevent abdominal spasms.
Jaggery: Is a rich source of calcium. Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a Mumbai-based nutritionist

Remedies
Take tea for tummy troubles
Take 1 tsp dried ginger powder (soonth), ½ tsp cardamom powder, 2 tbsp jaggery, 1½ tbsp fennel seeds (saunf), 1 tea bag, 1 cup water
Procedure:
1.Boil fennel seeds in water for two minutes and strain.
2.Dip the tea bag in the hot water for a minute to flavour it.
3.Finally, add other ingredients and mix till jaggery dissolves. Consume immediately.